Asian shares skid after S&P 500 logs 1st monthly drop of '21

Most stocks on Wall Street are rising Friday, but trading is once again choppy as the market closes out a tumultuous week.

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, a sign for Wall Street is carved in the side of a building, in New York. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 a day after closing out September with their first monthly loss since January. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE – In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, a sign for Wall Street is carved in the side of a building, in New York. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 a day after closing out September with their first monthly loss since January. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.6%, as of 12:36 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.9%, with help from energy companies like ExxonMobil. The Nasdaq lagged other major indexes with a gain of just 0.2%.

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All three indexes are on pace for weekly losses. The S&P 500 is down 2.7% for the week, which would be its biggest weekly drop since January. The Nasdaq is down 3.8% and the Dow is down 1.9%.

Merck jumped 9% after the drugmaker released a study that showed its experimental pill to treat COVID-19 cut hospitalizations and deaths by half in people who were recently infected with the virus.

September was the worst month for the S&P 500 since March 2020, when the pandemic first took hold across the U.S. and the globe. Investors have gotten skittish in recent weeks as COVID-19 infections continue to spread across the country as well as political turmoil in Washington, where Democrats seem no closer in resolving issues like infrastructure, social spending and the debt ceiling.

There’s also rising inflation. Oil prices are up 2% this week, approaching a seven-year high, while natural gas prices are up more than 8%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans, fell to 1.48% Fiday from 1.50%. It was trading at 1.32% just over a week ago.

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